Dena Samuels, PhD

Mindfulness-Based Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Author, Speaker, Leadership Trainer & Transformation Coach  
Pronouns: she/her/hers

Dena Samuels, PhD serves as a mindfulness-based diversity, equity, and inclusion author, speaker, leadership trainer, and consultant. As an award-winning tenured professor, Dr. Samuels taught at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs for 20 years while consulting around the U.S. and beyond. She now speaks around the U.S. on mindful, inclusive leadership development. Her passion is to inspire people to raise their personal and social awareness to live more fulfilling, connected, and meaningful lives; and to assist organizations, campuses, and corporations in building more diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures. 

Dr. Samuels’ latest book, The Mindfulness Effect: an unexpected path to healing, connection, & social justice (Night River Press, 2018) offers 25 mindfulness practices and activities for health/wellness, self-empowerment, culturally inclusive leadership, social and environmental justice. The book has an accompanying journal/workbook, and she also teaches an online course that guides readers through the book. Her previous book, The Culturally Inclusive Educator: Preparing for a Multicultural World (Teachers College Press, 2014) provides specific strategies for building cultural inclusion both personally and institutionally.

Over her extensive career, Dr. Samuels has been interviewed in print, radio, online, and on TV, including by the Colorado affiliate station of NPR; and by the Huffington Post. Samuels volunteers as co-facilitator of the monthly Second Tuesday Race Forum of Denver, and she was a founding member and co-chair of The Privilege Institute, the institutional home of the annual White Privilege Conference. In Denver, Samuels serves as a culturally inclusive, trauma-sensitive yoga and mindfulness instructor.

About Me

At heart, I am an educator with a passion for increasing your connection and sense of belonging in the world. I am also a springboard to help you reach your own and/or your organization’s inspired potential.


My new book, The Mindfulness Effect: an unexpected path to healing, connection, & social justice (Night River Press, 2018)  offers 25 mindfulness practices and activities for healing, self-empowerment, cultural inclusion, social and environmental justice. Implementing these practices allows us to live our lives fully and freely, with intention, connection, excellence, innovation, and meaning. It provides strategies for peaceful self-reflection, and for building authentic relationships across cultural differences to ensure our own, and others’, sense of belonging so we can all reach our unlimited potential and soar!

My last book, The Culturally Inclusive Educator: Preparing for a Multicultural World (Columbia University’s Teachers College Press, 2014), sold out its first printing in its first nine months, and after its second printing has been used in organizations and campuses around the U.S. as an all-organization/all-campus read. It provides 8 transformative steps for becoming a culturally inclusive educator and leader.

Among a long list of publications (a few of which are available on the Resources page), I also co-edited the anthology, The Matrix Reader: Examining the Dynamics of Oppression and Privilege (McGraw-Hill, 2009) with three of my esteemed colleagues: Drs. Abby Ferber, Christina Jiménez, and Andrea O’Reilly Herrera. And I authored the online teaching guide that accompanies this anthology: Teaching Race, Gender, Class, and Sexuality (McGraw-Hill, 2009).

Interview by Ryan Warner with Dena Samuels on Colorado Public Radio
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(Please be patient while audio loads on CPR website)



As an award-winning tenured professor in Women’s & Ethnic Studies at University of Colorado – Colorado Springs (UCCS), I also served as Director of UCCS’ Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion. Of the Matrix Center’s many programs, I also supervised and co-facilitated our annual award-winning Knapsack Institute: Transforming Teaching and Learning. This 3-day national institute, invites participants from across the U.S. to roll up their sleeves and engage in the challenging work of developing culturally inclusive excellence in the classroom or workplace. The institute caps enrollment at 50 participants each year to ensure that we are building deep relationships throughout the three transformative days.

Now I am pleased to bring 20 years of teaching experience to full-time consulting!

I provide engaging, interactive keynotes, workshops, and seminars to organizations, campuses, and schools nationally and internationally. My focus is leadership development and how to integrate diversity and build cultural inclusiveness within any workplace: office, campus, classroom, meeting, etc. Consulting is one of my favorite ways to be of service because I get to meet so many different people, from diverse companies, with diverse landscapes. No two clients are the same; so, I get to tailor my presentations and executive coaching to their specific needs.

I also serve as a culturally inclusive, trauma-sensitive yoga instructor. Depending on the needs and desires of my consulting clients, I have the capacity to incorporate mindfulness practices in my keynotes and workshops about cultural inclusiveness, but I promise never to make participants get into downward facing dog!


As my own mindfulness practice has flourished, I don’t think it’s fair to keep it to myself! As such, my personalized coaching practice continues to expand and grow. All of my coaching is trauma-sensitive (as a trauma survivor myself), and culturally inclusive. Although a few of my mindfulness practices are provided in my lates book, when I am coaching a client, I am present, and so provide whatever guidance is needed in that moment, tailored to the client to assist them in their own healing and growth.

I listened when one of my clients excitedly asked after a session, “Is that mindfulness practice online somewhere? I want to do it again and again!” Stay tuned for downloadable guided meditations for self-empowerment, healing, and of course, to take your life to the Next Level!


Since its founding in 2014, I served as co-Chair of The Privilege Institute which among many programs, houses the annual national award-winning White Privilege Conference: a social justice conference that focuses on challenging social inequalities based not only on race, but gender, sexuality, and other social identities. I volunteered on the national planning team of the conference since 2005.

I am also grateful for the opportunity to serve as co-facilitator of the Second Tuesday Race Forum of Denver. This monthly gathering provides a relatively safe space for cross-cultural dialogue around current and historical issues of racism, sexism, heterosexism, etc., and the ways our identities can, often unintentionally, serve to benefit some at the expense of others. This forum started in 1999, and no one wanted the conversation to stop… and here we are!

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